The Mount's Response to Federal HHS Mandate
Emmistburg, Maryland - Since the U.S. Health and Human Services Department released its federal mandate requiring the provision of sterilization, contraception and abortion-inducing drugs in all health care plans, Mount St. Mary’s University has been actively engaged in resisting this unjust legislation.
- September 29th, 2011 - Mount St. Mary’s University’s Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education, a division of the Cardinal Newman Society, released an official comment protesting the mandate. In collaboration with the Alliance Defense Fund, the Center gathered the signatures of eighteen other Catholic institutions of higher learning.
- February 10, 2012 – President Powell gathered the Mount community in Founder’s Plaza for prayer and an address in which he stated the Mount’s firm opposition to the mandate. Msgr. Stuart Swetland, Vice-President for Catholic Identity and Mission and Executive Director of CACHE also spoke and offered a prayer for religious liberty. Local press was present to cover the event. President Powell designated that day as one of prayer and fasting for religious liberty.
- March 12, 2012 - Mount St. Mary’s University published an open letter to President Obama protesting the affront to religious liberty which the HHS mandate poses. Signed by Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Eugene Waldron, Jr. and President Powell, this letter was published in the Washington Post and other local media and protested “in the strongest possible terms this unjust and intrusive mandate.”
- April 26th, 2012 - Mount St. Mary’s University’s Pre-Law Society hosted Mark Rienzi, Assistant Professor at the Catholic University - Columbus School of Law, and an attorney for the Becket Fund who specializes in cases involving religious liberty. Professor Rienzi reviewed cases of over-reaching legislative attempts to limit religious liberty. He included the present mandate as such an attempt and explained how it violates statutory and constitutional religious freedoms.
- May 30, 2012 - The Mount along with 18 other Catholic colleges, universities and online programs partnered with The Cardinal Newman Society and Catholic faculty in signing a letter of protest to the Obama administration to rescind its illegal health insurance mandate and regulations that violate religious freedom.
“In just a few short months, Catholic colleges and their students will be forced into health insurance that violates our moral beliefs,” said Msgr. Stuart Swetland, Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education and Vice President for Catholic Identity and Mission at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., upon submitting the letter to HHS. “The colleges joining this letter have been admirable in their Catholic identity, both inside and outside the classroom. They are defending their God-given and Constitutional rights to act according to their religious beliefs. The Administration ought to recognize these rights.”